© K. Cemnolonskio nuotr.

Klaipėda port authority plans to invest €150-€180 million in developing the southern part of the port over the three years to increase cargo traffic.

Port executives said that the canal would be deepened to 14.5 metre to be able to accept bigger ships at the port's loading companies.

"We are searching for a contractor for (a coastal protection) wall, which will allow shaping a broader and bigger canal to the Malku bay. If we want to have Panamax-sized ships, this has to be done and a new depth should be ensured. Currently the depth is 11 m, and our plan is to reach 14.5 m," the port's CEO Arvydas Vaitkus told a news conference on June 16th.

"Our preliminary calculations are that it will require €150-180 million but this is an investment for the long run," he said.

In Vaitkus' words, the project should allow raising the annual volume of cargo handled by companies in Malku bay from 5.5 million tons to 10-15 million tons a year.

"The companies themselves declare that a volume of 20 million tons is a realistic goal," he said.

Klaipėda Port handled 16.69 million tons of cargo in the first five months of this year, up 7% year-on-year.

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